Army vs Shiite Expel Iran Ambassador to Nigeria – Groups urge Buhari

Abubakar explained that the comments credited to the Iranian ambassador to Nigeria following the clash between the Army and members of the Shiite were very undiplomatic.

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Before the massacre, the Nigerian Army dialogues with the protesting Shiite members. play

Before the massacre, the Nigerian Army dialogues with the protesting Shiite members.

(Daily Trust)
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A Coalition of Human Rights and Pro-Democracy Based Civil Society Organizations has said the federal government of Nigeria must report the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations (UN) for trying to undermine Nigeria’s internal security by openly backing a group, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria which attempted to create chaos in the Nigeria.

Speaking at a world press conference in Abuja, Convener/National President of the Coalition, Comrade Ibrahim Abubakar urged President Muhammadu Buhari to expel the Iranian Ambassador, Saeed Koozechi from Nigeria.

Abubakar explained that the comments credited to the Iranian ambassador to Nigeria following the clash between the Army and members of the Shiite, were very undiplomatic and could amount to a threat to Nigeria’s internal security

READ: Army Vs Shiites - ‘We don’t need soldiers' apology,’ Group says

He also said the President should take the further step of severing all diplomatic ties with the government of Iran until they commit to staying out of the internal affairs of Nigeria.

He said, “That Iran can continue to undermine Nigeria after Mr President’s recent visit to that country makes the message obviously clear that cordial relations with Iran will not add value to us.

"We also appeal to the media to consider national interest in the course of reporting. It will be counterproductive to help a belligerent country further its propaganda that is aimed at destabilising our country as it is obvious that the Iranian Ambassador is counting on Nigeria’s liberal media environment to help spread fear and encourage insurgency. In his home country, no media organisation would have dared to publish a story that is critical of the government how much more of stories that are meant to undermine Iran.”

He said for the fact that the Iranian government is yet to recall its ambassador after such unguarded statement, shows he enjoys the support of his government. Abubakar however warned that Nigerians cannot allow external interference with Nigeria’s internal security matters.

He said, “Nigeria, being a member of the United Nations, UN is bound by all the relevant conventions on Human Rights and other protocols,  does not require a lecture from Iran on how to manage its internal affairs, particularly when the issue under consideration borders on security and survival of the nation. By the way, Iran should first put its house in order before trying to lecture another country, on what constitutes Human Right and how to safeguard it. Here is a country where executions are as rampant as tooth extraction at a dentist’s; people are flogged or amputated for minor offences; minorities are hounded; freedom of expression is lacking; and women rank a little above property.  It should be crystal clear by now that the era of imperialism is past and Iran does not have the kind of right it is arrogating to itself over Nigeria or any other country for that matter.

“We should have by now reported Iran to the UN. The arms found in Shiite enclave came from somewhere; our intelligence agencies certainly must have a clue to this. We still have the unresolved problem of some high calibre armaments which includes missiles illegally shipped into this country. Gentlemen, recall that sometimes ago a cache of firearms and other weapons were uncovered in Kano and it has all the fingerprints of a country on it. The right thing therefore, is for Iran to have tried hiding its involvement in the militarisation of the Shi’ite in Nigeria and not try to intimidate a sovereign nation for defending itself against Iranian proxies.”

He said the Federal government of Nigeria must protect the county at any cost, in line with the provisions of the Constitution it swore to uphold - in pursuit of Nigeria’s territorial integrity and general well-being.

READ: Shiites vs Army - Eyewitness gives account of Zaria killings, says sect members were armed

Abubakar said Nigerians see this Iranian interference as part of a desperate attempt to create a Shiite axis of power as compensation for the sliding influence of the sect in the Middle East where the Sunni brand of Islam is gaining the upper hand.

He said Unfortunately for Iran, they blatantly ignore the reality that Islam in Nigeria is not known to be as heavily polarised along sectarian lines as it would want it to be.

According to him, Nigeria and the human rights community will continue to encourage respect for human rights in the country, but will not back any group that takes arm against the Nigerian state.

He said, “when the Nigerian Army had a face-off with the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, better known as Shi’ite last year, many of us were vocal in our condemnation of what some viewed as the high handedness with which the Army responded to provocation from the sect’s members. But those with the capacity to be truthful will admit that resident of Zaria, Kaduna state and environs have been living under the reign of terror of the Shi’ite led by Mr. Ibrahim Yakubu El-Zakyzaky.

“Their lawlessness reached climax to the point that the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai and his entourage could have been killed had the situation been handled differently.”

He said, “Nigeria is already grappling with the horrors of Boko Haram, which has ties with an extreme brand of Islam. The Iran sponsored Shi’ite extremism was another front that was opened against the country. Iran must therefore not expect a different treatment from those who bear arms against the state simply on account that they belong to the same sect as is dominant in the Islamic Republic.

We fear that the whole of this support on so called humanitarian grounds is a ploy to plunge Nigeria into further crisis, disrupt sales of Nigerian crude oil in the international market, and create space for Iranian oil as it is just emerging from crippling sanctions that had prevented it from selling oil.

“We therefore call on the Islamic Republic of Iran to respect international laws and allow us to function as a sovereign nation. It should find ways of getting buyers for its oil without fomenting trouble in Nigeria. It should build its Shiite axis of influence elsewhere as Nigeria is a secular pluralistic country that does not recognise any state religion.”

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